Every single April 22nd, we celebrate something truly special. We celebrate the Earth by demonstrating our support for the environment and how we need to protect it. Not only do we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, there is also an anniversary that is celebrated in Disney circles; the anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park at the Walt Disney World Resort! Last year (2018), Animal Kingdom held a huge celebration in honor of the parks’ 20th Anniversary. While this year they are they are not doing a big celebration for its 21st anniversary, we should still nonetheless honor this wonderfully amazing park! To do so, here are some facts about Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park you may or may not know!
While Animal Kingdom is the youngest park at the Walt Disney World Resort, it is not the youngest Disney theme park in the world. The youngest Disney park would belong to Shanghai Disneyland which was just recently opened on June 16, 2016 making the park three years old. Animal Kingdom opened up on April 22, 1998.
At this time Magic Kingdom was 27 years old, Epcot was 16 years old and MGM Studios (Hollywood Studios) was only nine years old. A one-day ticket to any park of your choosing was $42.00. If Animal Kingdom had opened in 1997 and you bought a ticket for the park online, you would have had to use the search engine AOL. Why? Google had not yet been invented until 1998. Want to know something else? If you didbuy a ticket to Animal Kingdom online using Google in 1998, you most likely used an iMac. The reason behind this is the very first iMac debuted in 1998. Feeling old yet?
Wouldn’t it be cool if Animal Kingdom, a park about Animals and the planet, had an entire land dedicated to the mythological creatures and beings? Believe it or not, there was once a time when this was a very real possibility. Back when Animal Kingdom was being conceived, the idea was to include things in the park that represented animals that exist today, animals that once existed and animals that only existed in fantasy and imagination. The way they did this was with Africa/Asia, Dinoland U.S.A. and eventually, Beastly Kingdom; the name for the proposed fantasy land.
Due to budgetary reasons and further planning involving Beastly Kingdom, Beastly Kingdom was put on hold until further notice. Instead of leaving an empty plot of land open on the opening day of the park, Disney built Camp Minnie-Mickey as a ‘placeholder.’ Camp Minnie-Mickey was themed to a rustic summer camp and held meet and greets for Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and other various Disney characters. Eventually the whole entire plan for Beastly Kingdom got scrapped and Camp Minnie-Mickey stayed for the foreseeable future. Later on down the road, Camp Minnie-Mickey closed and started making way for the land that now resides in its place- PANDORA: The World of Avatar! PANDORA: The World of Avatar opened on May 27, 2017.
If you have been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, chances are you have ridden the ride known as Expedition Everest. The ride opened on April 7, 2006 and has since then been a classic ride at Animal Kingdom. If you have never been on it, it is a rollercoaster that takes you through a journey deep into the mountains where you then encounter the infamous Yeti. While the ride is called Expedition Everest, you do not actually go on Everest.
Yes, you probably already know you are not on the real Everest, but what you do not know is in the story of the attraction you are not journeying up Mount Everest. You are actually journeying up the Forbidden Mountain, a fictional mountain that is on the smaller peak, on the far right behind the bigger mountain of Everest. According to legend, the Forbidden Mountain is where the Yeti really lives, not Mount Everest. The only real thing about the attraction is the surrounding area where the attraction is in, which is modeled after Anandapur, India. Anandpur is a town and municipality in the Kendujhar district in the state of Odisha, India.
The very first thing you see as you walk into the main area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is the park icon of Animal Kingdom. Each Disney park has a very special icon. Magic Kingdom has Cinderella Castle, Epcot's got Spaceship Earth, Hollywood Studios had the giant Sorcerer Mickey Hat (now it is the Chinese Theater), and Animal Kingdom has The Tree of Life. If you have never seen it before, upon first glance you would think that this ‘tree’ is a ginormous tree and probably took thousands of years to grow. However, if you look at it closely, you will indeed see it is not a tree at all.
Standing at 145 feet tall, this man-made wonder consists of over 100,000 leaves attached to 8,000 tree limbs. Oh, and did I mention it sways and moves exactly like a real tree? In fact, this tree can even stand Hurricane force winds before creating any real damage to the tree or allowing the leaves to fall off! This amazing tree also took 13 people in total (10 artists and 3 Imagineers) to create the lifelike 325 different animal carvings in the tree’s trunk. The finished product took a total of 18 months, just to create those one-of-a-kind carvings which if you do not know, is 1 year, 6 months.
Hopefully these interesting facts brought some new light onto Disney’s Animal Kingdom! If you love Animal Kingdom just as much as we do and want to celebrate in an amazing way, check out out monthly shirt design for April! If you happen to not want to celebrate the 21st Anniversary of Animal Kingdom by wearing a really awesome shirt, you can check out any of our other awesome shirts at PerfShirts! And if for whatever reason you cannot find a shirt you like, simply message us and we would be glad to create you an awesome shirt you will love! At PerfShirts, we take Disney themes, Disney characters, mottos, phrases and more and turn them into really awesome clothing like shirts, hoodies, leggings and so much more! Shop all the latest Disney Inspired clothing today!
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